A survey conducted for the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) revealed that many women encounter difficult financial circumstances after their husbands pass away. The results of this survey only emphasize how important it is for couples to have solid estate planning in place.
There were 246 women who participated in The Survey of Recent Widows, which was funded by funded by the American Council of Life Insurers. All the women involved were 70 years of age or less and had lost their husbands within the past five years. Each of the women participating had assets of between $50,000 and $1 million.
For the women whose husbands had been the primary financial decision maker in the marriage, the adjustment was particularly hard and many were not equipped with the knowledge of how to continue to handle financial issues now that their spouse was gone. Results of the survey included:
- Half of the women who participated reported losing half of their income once their husband was gone;
- More than 60 percent of the women reported having a difficult time in figuring out how to file income taxes, something their husbands had always handled;
- For those women whose assets were under $100,000, 45 percent of them reported not having any emergency fund set up before their husbands passed away;
- Overall, one-third of the women reported not having any emergency funds to fall back on;
- Almost 40 percent of the women did not know if they qualified to receive their husband’s Social Security benefit, nor were they aware of how to go about applying;
- One-fourth of the women who participated were not sure where bank and other financial accounts were located. They also reported having a hard time gaining access to those accounts; and
- One-fourth of the women who participated found it necessary to move into less expensive living quarters after their husbands passed away.
Although this survey only involved women who had lost their husbands, the result could apply to a married couple where the wife, who has always been the one responsible for the finances, passes away, leaving the husband in the same type of financial difficulties as the women who participated in this survey. If you and your spouse have not made plans for the future, or if it has been some time since those plans have been reviewed, contact an experienced Wheaton estate planning attorney to find out what legal options you and your spouse may have. Call the Law Offices of Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates at 630-933-8400 today for a free consultation.